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Preventing School Violence

Although violence in school is rare, tragedies happen. You can stop tomorrow’s tragedy if you recognize the warning signs today and speak up. Too many students do not report a threat of violence because they fear retaliation. Others believe the attacker was joking because they had a history of making threatening statements.

Breaking the code of silence is the key to safe students, safe schools, and safe communities. Take every threat seriously and tell an adult.

In Michigan:

  • 1 in 7 Michigan high school students carried a weapon (such as a gun, knife, or club) at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey.[1]
  • 1 in 14 Michigan high school students were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property (such as a gun, knife, or club) one or more times during the 12 months before the survey.[2]

Students who intend to harm themselves or others may show the following signs.[3]

  • Suddenly withdrawing from people and activities
  • Consistent bullying or intimidating others, or being bullied by others
  • Extreme mood or personality changes
  • Victim of constant social rejection
  • Talking about plans or actively making plans to harm themselves or others
  • Bringing a weapon to school – or threatening or talking about doing so
  • Bragging about or warning others about an upcoming act of violence
  • Recruiting others to join in a planned act of violence
  • Warning students to stay away from school or events
  • Expressing fascination with guns and/or school shootings
  • Expressing hopelessness about the future
  • Extreme, prolonged sadness or distress
  • Expressing or showing feelings of isolation
  • Bragging about access to guns or knives

Here are steps you can take to keep your school and community safe.

  • Take every threat of suicide or proposed plans of violence seriously. It may not only be a warning sign but a cry for help too.
  • If you hear or see something, say something. Talk to an adult in person, at home or you can also contact OK2SAY. If the threat is imminent, call 911.
  • Be aware of and follow your school’s weapons policy. Michigan law prohibits firearms (which includes BB guns and starter guns), knives with a blade over 3” long, and other items in and around Michigan school buildings.
  • Understand that there is no room for joking about any violence of any kind.
  • Threats made against our schools will not be tolerated and vigorously investigated. Those responsible will be held accountable. Over one hundred Michigan students have been criminally charged with making a false report or threat of terrorism.


> Ways To Get Help


Sandy Hook Promise

Students Against Violence Everywhere